Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated today, August 31 in different states of India.

Ganesh Chaturthi marks the birth of the Hindu god Ganesh. The elephant-headed deity is the god of prosperity, good fortune and wisdom, and the 10-day festival reflects how important he is in Hinduism.

The festival lasts up to 10 days and begins on the fourth day (chaturthi) of the month of Bhadrapada, which is the sixth month of the Hindu calendar.  It usually falls between mid-August and mid-September.

In the UK it is not observed as a national holiday, but in India it is an optional holiday. 

Employment and holiday laws in India allow employees to choose a limited number of holidays from a list of options;  some may choose to take the day off to celebrate, though most offices and businesses will remain open.

Lord Ganesha ranging from less than an inch tall to over dozens of feet high are made in the months leading up to the festival 

many of which are put into specially made pavilions and decorated with flowers and lights, or are displayed inside homes.

Many Hindus attend temple on the first day of the festival and offer Lord Ganesha coconut and sweet pudding, as well as 21 modak dumplings, which are the god’s favourite food.

Ganesha is worshipped for 10 days, and on the 11th day flower garlands and scented candles are made to be used in processions that take statues of the god to local rivers or the sea.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are seldom without plates piled with the sweet dumplings known as modaks.

The steamed sweet is made with rice flour and the filling usually comprises a mixture of coconut, jaggery and saffron. Other traditional delicacies made for the occasion include puran poli, a stuffed flat bread filled with chana dal, sugar and nutmeg.

They are immersed in the water to symbolise the god’s journey back to his home in Kailash, and to his parents Shiva and Parvati.